Legend has it that Aussies will bet on two flies climbing up a wall! Many people (70% of us) enjoy a lotto flutter, a punt on the Melbourne Cup or even the occasional night at a casino and do so responsibly. Sadly for some people, gambling is a destructive problem affecting their families and friends as well as themselves.
Australians spend nearly $19 billion a year on gambling, some $12 billion of it on poker machines. An estimated 500,000 Australians are, or are at risk of becoming problem gamblers and about 75% of them are poker machine players, particularly women.
Often a hidden problem, those addicted to gambling:
- Lose on average $21,000 per year
- Are six times more likely to get divorced
- Are four times more likely to have problems with alcohol
- Are four times more likely to smoke
- Each impact badly on between five and ten others.
The children of problem gamblers are much more likely to develop a similar problem. The costs to the community are estimated to be $4.7 billion per year.
Yet only 15% of those addicted to gambling seek help.
But help is at hand for those addicted or their partner/spouse. Counselling around finances and relationships are part of the mix, as are support groups. Your doctor can assist with medical problems that contribute to this worrying addiction such as depression.
For help visit www.problemgambling.gov.au